Please Think Before You Leap
Before you adopt your new best friend we want to ensure you know a little about the breed and what you might be able to expect.
What to expect from a malamute:
Malamutes aren’t your average dog. They aren’t guard dogs, nor will they listen to your every command. Malamutes are strong willed, friendly, intelligent and extremely powerful. Malamutes enjoy being active and having new experiences. When left to their own devices they become bored, which can lead to them being destructive.
How to be successful with a malamute:
Malamutes make great family dogs, they want to be loved, explore, play and cuddle. Devoting time to your new furry family member will make the transition easier for you and your mal. Most mals need a secure 6 foot fenced-in yard or a consistent exercise plan and not all are great with cats or children. Before adopting a new family member be sure to research their background and decide what’s best for your situation.
Choose to rescue a Malamute:
Otherwise known as second hand dogs, they give first class love. Rescue dogs have sometimes been through their fair share of hard moments in life. They are often dumped or lost, and their owners don’t check for them or pick them up from shelters. Many of our rescue dogs have been pulled from shelters the day they were scheduled to be euthanized. Sometimes they are mistreated, many times they are neglected. Many people feel that a “wreck” like that would be incapable of love and could never fit into a home environment given their past. Almost always just the opposite is true. These dogs want nothing more in life than to give and receive love. They love their owners with all their heart and because they know what it’s like to be neglected they appreciate love given to them all the more.
A dog is not a status symbol, toy or whim. A dog is forever. No dog should ever go unloved but the sad reality is too many Malamutes are bought for the wrong reasons, by unprepared owners. Think long and hard before you bring that puppy (of any breed) home. They have feelings too–sadly, sometimes more than their owners.
A Poem about Malamutes:
I’m a Malamute.
I’m not a Husky!
I’m bigger, I’m stronger!
My eyes are the color of chocolate, never blue.
My tail curls over my back; huskies and wolves hold theirs straight.
I’m built for strength and power, not speed.
I can pull many hundreds times my own weight.
I’m not a wolf! I’m my own proud ancient breed.
Yes I’m nice, if you are. I am very intuitive.
I’m big and love to lean on people. This is affection, not aggression.
Yes I will bite, if hurt or scared.
Yes I shed – a lot! Your yard, furniture, floor will be covered in fluffs. Brush me often to keep my coat luxurious!
Yes I love the cold, -20 is good, +32 is warm. It’s not mean to let me stay outside.
But I love the company of my people so don’t abandon me out there.
Yes I can bark, but I prefer to woowoo you!
I’ll howl along with sirens. And wake you with a song as the sun rises.
If I don’t agree with you, I’ll be sassy and talk back. WoooooWoooo!
No I don’t need to eat a lot, nature gave me an efficient metabolism.
But I’ll wolf whatever is in front of me and take yours too.
I prefer the company of people over the company of other dogs.
I’ll chase a ball and maybe retrieve it a few times, then I’m bored of that dumb game.
My ancestors were wanderers. So am I. Keep me safe on a leash, always!
I’ll bull through wood and vinyl fence, I’ll even rip chain link.
I can jump high and dig deep. My play area must be secure.
My ancestors chased critters for food. Little fuzzies are my prey even if they’re your friends.
I’m very intelligent but stubborn. I won’t do your bidding unless there’s something in it for me! Reward me!
If you don’t want me to chew up your furniture and dig up your lawn, exercise and entertain me!
I can happily sleep on the patio or even in a crate, but I’m happiest if I can be near you, preferably snuggled in your bed.
Love me, and I’ll love you for life!
By Joyce Epperson
Is the ALASKAN MALAMUTE right for you?
The Alaskan Malamute is what I would consider a ‘lifestyle’ breed. I have always said that, and what I mean by that is they are a hearty, pack-oriented dog, who need a job, love the outdoors, are highly attuned to pack-hierarchy and need to be stimulated both mentally and physically, every single day, rain, sleet, hail, snow or otherwise. So, that being said, would you not think that the right owner and family for an Alaskan Malamute would be active, outdoorsy and able to manage an independent, headstrong breed like an Alaskan Malamute? That’s right, you have to take into account their temperament, but also yours, and those of family members or other household occupants.
Some important things to consider: Malamutes shed a lot; Malamutes howl a lot; Malamutes pull a lot; Malamutes dig a lot; Malamutes destroy dog beds and toys; Malamutes counter-surf; bored Malamutes can destroy furniture and eat through drywall; Malamutes have low guarding instincts; Malamutes have high prey-drive…..need I go on? If any of these attributes turn you off, stop reading now and Google a different breed. This breed will not be a fit for you, long term. To live with an Alaskan Malamute, one requires patience, understanding, intelligence, a firm and fair disposition, and, most of all, a sense-of-humor.
If I haven’t deterred you from adding a Malamute to your home yet, let’s continue.
The Alaskan Malamute is still a relatively healthy breed, especially for a large breed. Responsible, preservation breeders have worked closely together to ensure the health of our gene-pool, it is something that our parent breed clubs and top-caliber breeders care very deeply about. As a result of this focus, the Alaskan Malamute can boast a lifespan of 12-15 years. The question to ask yourself is, “where do I see myself over the course of the next 12-15 years?” Are factors such as: business travel, location change, condo-living, family additions or health factors subject to change or do you foresee stability? Of course, many life events we cannot predict, but we can ascertain how you perceive your responsibility and commitment level to this ‘live addition’ to your life over the long haul. In the event of such changes, what would be the outcome for your malamute? Would he be disposed of? Or would he be considered a lifelong companion, a family member, to include through thick and thin?
No one knows better than I do, just how darn cute malamute puppies are and how incredibly beautiful this breed is when fully mature. Wouldn’t a malamute look so ‘cool’ on the end of your leash, or beside you on a hiking trail? I get it, I sure do, but STOP. Emotion and looking good in an Instagram post are no reasons to add a malamute to your life!! They are not a fashion statement. If you are a fan of the TV show “Game of Thrones,” or wept through the movie “Eight Below,” I don’t care. “I want one of those cool looking dogs” is not a viable reason to add a malamute to your life. Need proof? Let me talk you through stories of dumped dogs that owners gave up on because of the challenges I have already presented to you above. Alaskan Malamutes are sentient beings with innate challenges and requirements, such as: regular grooming, a properly constructed fenced-in compound or yard, structure, discipline and socialization from puppyhood throughout life. All of this comes with a financial outlay and we haven’t even begun to talk about food, equipment and lifelong veterinary care. Enough said there, right?
I hope you get the picture. My intent with this post is that you think objectively when making a 12-15 year commitment to add a dog, more seriously yet, an Alaskan Malamute, to your life. Cool breed, yes, I know. I thought things through very seriously for ‘years’ before finally adding one to our life, and the commitment we made was mutually accepted. That snowball effect is a topic for another blog, but what I am saying is, the Alaskan Malamute was the right choice for me and my husband and we have built our lives around the malamutes. We have sacrificed a lot for them.
Adding a Mal to your life is a serious commitment. The definition of commitment is staying true to your decision and responsibilities long after the initial feelings and emotions you had when you first made that decision have passed. Case in point: it is pouring rain out today. A very miserable, muddy, dark, chilly, rainy spring day. And when I say rain, I mean downpour. There are no breaks in the forecast. I am also battling a virus. Do I want to go outside today? No. But I do and I will and I will be the better for it. There is poop to be picked up and malamutes to be exercised and fed. Tending to them is not a matter of whether I feel like it or not. It is an absolute necessity NO MATTER WHAT.
Ask yourself and your family members the “hard” questions before making a decision that will impact your life physically, emotionally, mentally and financially for the long term and you will be happy you did. I appreciate you reading this and taking these factors into consideration.
©Jennifer Remazki, 2019
Ready to Adopt a Malamute?
Find the perfect Malamute for your household! We have a ton of loving malamutes up for adoption. What are you waiting for?